Mardi Gras 2016 came and went. If you follow me on Instagram then you know I’m a very busy lady during carnival season. I marched with the Gris Gris Strut Marching Band again this year. My friend Missy (flag corps) said it best: “This is like having a part-time job.” The band started practicing before Christmas, with the bulk of rehearsals in the weeks leading up to carnival. Then there are the parades. I marched in five of them this year, which was great fun but also physically and mentally draining. Walking at a snail’s pace across half the city while playing an instrument, coupled with the intense stimulus of thousands of eyeballs on you, takes its toll. Needless to say, it’s bittersweet that marching season has come to an end.
Oh yea, so y’all wanna talk about these costumes? This was the first time in three years that I didn’t have to balance Mardi Gras with school, which meant I had more time to get busy with the details. I think the official appliqué count was 28– all hand stitched by yours truly. And that’s not counting all of the sequin and feather trim work. I started on our costumes a month ago, but as usual Lundi Gras night was spent at home with a needle and thread. Thomas was on shoe duty this year, and he did a great job dazzling up his pair of thrift store penny loafers.
After sifting through multiple costume boxes (we have enough to practically open our own costume store) to pull out my trust metallic gold body suit, I’m going to sit down after Ash Wednesday and put my old retail management skills to use. Each box is getting an inventory sheet, sorted by themes and color schemes. Our wigs (I lost count years ago) will get stored in their own separate box. A true #MardiGrasProblems situation.
It goes without saying that Mardi Gras is my favorite time of year. Some years are better than others (remember how cold and rainy it was last year?) but the 2015 carnival season was as an epic one; I marched in four parades with Gris Gris Strut‘s marching band and Fat Tuesday was downright magical. The costumes, the partying, and the energy all added up to a firm reminder why I love my hometown so much. Mardi Gras never gets old.
Oh yea, and our Mardi Gras costumes were rain clouds. I used car sunshades and foam board to create the base for the hat. It was so windy there were times our hats would blow right off our heads. Navigating crowds was also challenging. At one point I popped into Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop to grab two purple drinks (yes, that’s the actual name) but the crowd was so dense that I had to take my hat off and thrust it upwards to try to gain clearance over everyone’s heads. Fortunately I didn’t piss anyone off. In fact, it seemed that most of the bar patrons gave kudos to my decision to limit my own mobility for the sake of costuming. That’s the best part about Mardi Gras, especially in the French Quarter and Marigny. Most revelers respect everyone else’s costume game, even when cumbersome accessories get in the way and make the streets hard to navigate. It’s all part of the Mardi Gras magic and I’m so grateful that I get to partake in it year after year.
My décolletage was not ample enough to store my iPhone, hence the square stomach.
Our friend Allie’s golden birthday fell on Krewe Du Vieux Saturday* this year, so we obliged to her request to wear gold to the parade in honor of her special day. My costume box is more like a costume closet, which makes it easy to piece together a somewhat cohesive look on the fly.
This coming Saturday I’ll be marching in the Krewe of Sparta as part of the Gris Gris Strut Marching Band. Come out and cheer us on; it’s been over 15 years since I’ve marched but I can still keep time with the best of them.
*We’re at that point in the carnival season when every day has a parade name: Bacchus Sunday, Endymion Saturday, etc…
I don’t always straighten my hair but when I do, it looks nice for about twenty minutes.
I’m enjoying my last few days of freedom before going back to school on Monday. My winter break has been all extra long dog walks, sleeping in, sewing, spending time with family over Christmas, and catching up on Netflix and reading. I’m definitely in for a jarring first day back.
Lately I’ve been reflecting on the progress I’ve made since I returned to school in 2013. At first I was self conscious; being a 30 something college student can invoke a tail between the legs feeling at times. It wasn’t until last semester, when I became Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, that I said to myself, “You know what, #$%! it” and decided to embrace where I am at this moment in my life.
I’m hard on myself. I don’t sit back and revel in the small victories. As Jay Z put it, I’m always “On to the next one.” In 2015 I’m making a concerted effort to enjoy my remaining semesters as an undergrad. I might not drive a luxury vehicle, pop bottles in a hot tub every night, or have written a best selling book, but my work continues to be published in respectable magazines, I’ve got a Honda that just won’t quit (most writers probably drive sensible cars anyway), and damn it, the kiddie pool I bought this summer was the best purchase I’ve made in recent memory.
At El Camino in Louisville, KY. If you go keep your menu away from the fire pit!
Copper & Kings brandy distillery in Louisville. I went on a tour when I visited my brother over Thanksgiving.
One of my favorite art installations at Exhibit Be. I found this one particularly lovely and haunting.
Oh, Mardi Gras. It was one of the coldest and rainiest Fat Tuesdays ever, but that didn’t stop the die hard crazies from heading out, including us. Since I never take the weather into consideration when planning a costume, wool socks under wool tights under green tights under fishnets was the only way to go. I felt like a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race underneath all that hosiery. Despite how nasty it was, we managed to laissez les bon temps rouler anyway. Needless to say, I didn’t bring my camera in fear of getting it wet, so these were the only non iPhone pics we took.
This year, I decided to make our hats. With about 12 hours total of hand stitching ( I rarely glue anything, unless sewing isn’t an option) I gave myself a bit of a break and thrifted our tops, minus some embellishments that I added. It’s always fun to play dress up, but I’m allowing myself a sweatshirt and jeans day today after freezing my toes off. Hopefully we’ll have better weather next year but hey, a little rain never stopped me from having a good time anyway.
Oh hey 2014, you crept up on me with the quickness, didn’t you? I didn’t announce it to the world, but Slow Southern Style turned five years old this past year. I know I’ve been neglecting my baby (see below for the reasons why) so here are some of the highlights of 2013:
I officially re-enrolled at The University of New Orleans (as a senior!) after a ten year hiatus. If you’re interested in the full story click on over to Propaganda, where I share my experience of entering the academic world as a non-traditional student.
I got the courage to quit my job of eight years. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was an important one. While I occasionally miss talking about clothes all day, it was time for me to evaluate my long term goals and make them happen.
After three beautiful years with Nadia, our beloved greyhound, we gave her one last throat rub. We also unexpectedly lost Proteus, one of our cats we had for eight years. 2013 was rough, to say the least. However, the pitter patter of little paws was not absent for long. We welcomed Izzy (Greyhound), Beignet (Rat Terrier/Catahoula mix) and our two kittens Piper and Lorenzo (formerly Loretta: oops!) as our newest roommates. We still miss Nadia and Proteus, but the newest additions help ease the pain.
I took on the role of Managing Editor of Propaganda New Orleans, which shifted my focus from writing about fashion to editing and writing on a much wider variety of subjects. Food, art, history and travel were just some of the topics I wrote about. Here’s the list, if you’re so inclined.
My brother, sister and I had a sibling reunion after not being in the same room together for two years. My siblings are the world to me. I’m hoping to take a trip to Louisville, Kentucky to visit my brother later this year.
Things I’m looking forward to in 2014:
The biggest, and most important, is my ten year wedding anniversary in August. Yea, we’re getting old. We’re renewing our vows in the same spot we got married: below the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Mardi Gras. Duh. It’s the holiday that trumps all other holidays.
After years of pining for a fancy camera, I bought myself an SLR. I’m looking forward to signing up for classes so I can figure out how to work the damn thing and stop uploading mediocre photos here. Maybe.
Can you believe Mardi Gras was only a week ago? Even though I’m still scrubbing glitter off my floors (and by still I mean haven’t started), it feels like a distant memory already. Regardless, I’ve got a few more photos to share before I put it to rest. And I lie- some of these made to my Instagram feed, others didn’t. I hope y’all enjoy them either way.
Kaci always kills it with her costumes. She made that Grecian goddess costume from scratch!
Dick in a box never.gets.old.ever.
Ran into this guy last year and he posed the same way this year. Mardi Gras kismet at its best.
Why yes, that is a Trojan horse running amok through the Marigny.
I love this picture of my husband- clearly he keeps himself entertained.
Form meets function- art bikes are always crowd pleasers, plus you can store booze and snacks in there.
Mardi Gras always passes a little too quickly for my liking. This year was a good one, with not so impromptu dance parties in the street, run ins with friends, and a heck of a long bike ride home. Even though it was overcast, dreary skies couldn’t dampen spirits. And though I’ve already packed up the costume box, I already have my hat for Mardi Gras 2014 picked out. See y’all on the parade route next year.
Lundi Gras is like the Christmas Eve of Mardi Gras. In case you aren’t familiar, Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday, the culmination of the carnival season where revelry in the streets is de rigueur until Lent begins at midnight.
While I didn’t hit up that many parades this year, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be celebrating tomorrow. Not in New Orleans? Follow me on Instagram and Twitter if you want to keep up with my costumed escapades while you’re sitting at your desk. Or, peruse the Mardi Gras archives, and check back after Ash Wednesday for more Fat Tuesday coverage. You can also read my piece about Southern Costume Company on NOLA Woman, and be sure to watch the latest Propaganda New Orleans episode below, where we head to Domenica to watch pastry chef Lisa White make her nearly infamous king cake, and Avenue Pub owner Polly Watts helps us pair whiskey with the sweet stuff.
Happy Mardi Gras, see y’all in the French Quarter tomorrow!